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Oakwood Church Leeds


Back in Time

A film by Tony O’Reilly

The history of the

Oakwood Clock Restoration Campaign


What is now Oakwood Lane used to be called Horseshoe Lane

When standing by Oakwood Clock you can look across Princes Avenue to the area of trees between Wetherby Road and Park Avenue. This was the site of a group of buildings called Horseshoe Cottages among which was a smithy

These humble dwellings were demolished shortly after Leeds City Corporation acquired Roundhay Park in 1872. They erected a hugely impressive stone Entrance Lodge at the junction of Princes Avenue and Park Lane which included toilets and, later, a tram waiting room. The Lodge was demolished in 1937

In 1889 Leeds Corporation built a tram track from Sheepscar to Oakwood. To return, the original steam-hauled trams circled around the present site of Oakwood Clock. The trams were electrified in 1891 and by July 1897 the track was extended to a new Terminus near Canal Gardens

Oakwood Clock was originally commissioned in 1904 for the new Leeds City ‘Kirkgate’ Market from the famous Leeds firm founded by William Potts. Within eight years, the popularity of the new market meant that an extra entrance had to be created. The clock tower was in the way so it had to be moved

It was eventually moved to its present position in 1913 soon after the Township of Roundhay was absorbed by The City of Leeds Extension Act in 1912

There is a Blue Plaque on the former Post Office, now an Estate Agent’s building, across Roundhay Road which mistakenly states that the clock was moved to Oakwood in 1912. That was the date it was removed from Leeds Kirkgate Market but it took some time to for Leeds Corporation to find a new home for it

From 1913 to 1959 when the trams were withdrawn Oakwood Clock served as a tram shelter. It remains a meeting point and resting place for residents and visitors

The Second World War years saw many changes for the tower.The clock became electrically powered and the bell was melted down for the war effort. Post war years saw little attention being paid to its upkeep until 1977 when it was given a much needed lick of paint. Since then, whilst concern for the state of the clock tower had been expressed, it wasn’t until 2012 that local people decided to take matters into their own hands

Walk Around The Clock

Oakwood Clock

More Local History Oakwood Clock

Oakwood Church Leeds

Information Panel [PDF]

The Oakwood Traders and Residents Association (OTRA) was formed and set about galvanising local people and businesses into action to help save the clock

The huge fund raising effort was given a mighty boost when a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £100,000 was successful. This, together with £200,000 raised from fund raising and donations, provided the money to restore the clock tower and create a worthy setting for it

The restored Clock Tower was reinstated in Spring 2015 and the project was formally completed at a ceremony on the second annual Oakwood Day, 2nd May 2015. You can find out more at the dedication panels fixed to the clock and on the information panel nearby


Conservation work to restore the clock to its former glory involved the skills of many crafts people as well as technical and engineering expertise:

HILLSTOWER CLOCKS Carried out the clock restoration

BIRSTALL PREMIER PAVING Carried out the block paving

RHODES ENGINEERING GROUP Restored the clock tower

LEEDS CITY COUNCIL Facilitated and coordinated the project. OTRA are very grateful for their extremely constructive involvement


As part of their Heritage Lottery Fund grant application the OTRA project team proposed to and did involve local people on an unprecedented scale by:

“Not only is Oakwood Clock the symbol of our community but its restoration has shown that by working together, we can honour our past, enjoy our present and benefit the future”



Potts Clocks Heritage Trail


Oakwood Clock Promotion Film

Oakwood Clock - 7 October 2012

Save Leeds historical Oakwood Clock

Symbol of Cultural Cohesion

BBC Look  North - Oakwood Clock Restoration

Oakwood Clock Removal - Timelapse 1

Oakwood Clock Removal - Timelapse 2

Back in Time


Oak Leaves ODHS

Part Seven - Autumn 2007

How Oakwood Got Its Clock

by John and Cynthia Harrison

Part Fourteen - Autumn 2014

Oakwood Clock Refurbishment. Congratulations and Thank You



Walk Around the Clock - Heritage Trail

Time Will Tell - Oral History


Love Oakwood (OTRA)

Oakwood Clock Restoration Campaign

Oakwood Day

Oakwood Farmers’ Market



Michael Parr “The story is about my great grandfather, who was called William Paley and he died after falling from the clock. We believe that it was at the time (when) they were taking the clock down, to take it up to was at the

middle entrance of the market and presumably the scaffolding collapsed and he died from his injuries...he left six children...they did not have any money...and we think the mother suffered a lot”


Nick Wayne “The Oakwood Clock itself is almost symbolic of growing up and youth. It was the meeting place... ‘I’ll meet you round by the clock’. It was the landmark that people from all over Leeds would know’s got fond would be an awful, awful gap in the landscape if it wasn’t there.”

Michael Parr Oakwood Clock.mp3 Nick Wayne Oakwood Clock.mp3